Being insensitive in the midst of chaos is a sure-fire way to lose business in the short-term and the long-term.
When in the middle of a crisis, compassion, empathy, and thoughtfulness are required- remember your real character shines through during hard times.
Insensitivity will become apparent; true colors are revealed, and underlying motives are highlighted. In a state of uncertainty and confusion, new norms become established to support the collective good. Consider rebuilding from a natural disaster; the community as a whole comes together to help one another and give back. It’s inherent in our survival. We understand our survival depends not just on ourselves, but on our collective being. It is distasteful for people to focus solely on their own needs compared to others who demonstrate concern for the well-being of others. It is an unspoken norm that a broader focus is required, one that goes beyond our own self-interest.
Here are some recent situations I’ve encountered that are sure to leave a bad taste:
- A business owner attempting to ensure there was sufficient work for his assistant to work remotely, shifted her responsibilities to having her make collection calls. He decided amid a pandemic when the unemployment rate is skyrocketing, and the need for an economic stimulus package is dire, to focus on collections, something he had never done before. Definitely, not the right time to overlook compassion. Noble to support the work of his staff, but it certainly doesn’t address the need of the collective.
- A business owner is attempting to shift how her business operates by meeting people in public spaces, given the constraints in meeting in restaurants and coffee houses. At first glance, this seems reasonable. However, when provided with the option of meeting online or by phone, she insists on the personal touch (pun intended)! Usually, this is considered a positive approach to customer service. Although, insisting other people accommodate your preference to meet in person when the world is practicing ‘social distancing’ is inconsiderate and overlooks the more significant impact.
- I’m lumping this all together with the increase in direct sales approaches. I’ve received calls to order more promotional pens, Linkedin pitches to enhance my business, and other direct requests to purchase some other product or service. The companies that survive will always be the ones that consider a customer’s needs first and foremost. Increasing cold-calls and knocking down doors by pretending people aren’t in a state of panic and acting as if pushing harder will help you land a sale is a sure-fire way not to get the business. At least if you’re going to pitch promotional products, you could make it somewhat relevant and offer customized hand sanitizers!
Be creative and meaningful with how you can support others for the collective good, and you’ll find you can sustain your business. Leaving a bad taste has long-term consequences. We are wired to protect our survival, and that means we remember those people and instances that are vested in protecting us and vested in harming us.
Let this be an opportunity to share compassion and consideration; it will pay dividends in the future!